was translated soon after its first appearance in The
Open Court into Russian by Count Leo Tolstoi.
He recommends it to his countrymen and sums
up his opinion as follows: -
x "This tale has greatly pleased ine with its
naivete as well as with its profundity. It seems
to shed light on a new side of the two funda-
mental truths revealed by Christianity : tih&t Uf©
exists only in the renunciation of one's personality
' He that loseth his life shall find it ' (Matt, x.,
39), and, that the good of men is only in their
unification with God, and through God, with each
other,—' As thou art in me and I in thee, that they
also may be one in us' (John, xvii., 21).
" I read out this tale to children and they
liked it. And amongst grown-up people its reading
always gave ri^e to conversation about the gravest
problems of life. And, to my mind, it is a very
— I '
A STORY OF EARLY BUDDHISM
Long, long ago in the days of early Buddhism, India was already
in a moat prosperous condition. The Aryan inhabitants of the country
were highly civilized, and the great cities were centres of industry,
commerce, and learning.
It was in those oid n times that Pandu. a wealthy jeweller of the
Brahman casta, travelled in a carriage to Baranasi, which is now called
Benares. He was bent on some lucrative business, and a slave who
attended to the horses accompanied him.
The jeweller was apparently in a hurry to reach the place of his
destination, and as the day was exceedingly pleasant, since a heavy
thunder storm had cooled the atmosphere, the horses sped along
While proceeding on tbelr journey the travellers overtook a
eamana, as the Euddhist monks were called, and the jeweller observing
the venerable appearance of the holy man, thought to himself: "This
samana looks noble and saintly. Companionship with good men brings
luck; should he also be going to Baranasi, I will invite him to ride
with me in my carriage." Having saluted the samana the jeweller
explained whither he was driving and at what inn he intended to stay
in Baranaei. Learning that the samana, whose name was Narad a, also
was travelling to Baranasi, hs asked him to accept a seat in his
carriage. "I am obliged to you for your kindness," said the samana
to the Brahman, "for I am quite worn out by the long journey. As I
have no possessions in this world, I cannot repay yon in money ; hut
it may happen, that I ean reward you with some spiritual treasure out
of the wealth of the information I have received while following
Shakyamuni, the Blessed One, the Great Buddha, the Teacher of gods
Both travelled together in the carriage and Pandu listened with
pleasure to the instructive discourse of JTftrada. After about an hoar's
journey, they came to a place where the road had become almost impass-
able by a washout caused by the reeent rain, and a former's cart heavily
laden with rice prevented further progress. The loss of a lineh-pin had
caused one of the wheels to come off, and Devala, the owner of the cart,
was bnsily engaged in repairing the harm. Ee, too, was on his way to
Baranasi to sell his rice, and was anxious to reach the town before the
dawn of the next morning. If he Was delayed a day or two longer,
the rice merchants might have left town or bought all the stoek they
When the jeweller saw that he could not proceed on his way
unless the farmer's cart was removed, he began to grow angry and
ordered Mahaduta, his slave, to push the cart aside, so that his
carriage could pass by. The farmer remonstrated because, being eo
near the slope of the road, it would jeopardise his cargo; but the
Brahman would not listen to the farmer and bade his servant overturn
the rice-cart and pueh it aside. Jttahaduta, an unusually strong man,
who seemed to take delight in the injury of others, obeyed before the
samana could interfere. When Pandu was about to continue his travel
the samana jumped out of the carriage and said : " Excuse me, sir, fo*
leaving you here. I am under obligations for your kindness in giving
me an hour's ride in your carriage. I was tired when you picked
me up on the road, but now, thanks to your courtesy, I am rested,
and recognising in this farmer an incarnation of one of your ancestors
I cannot repay your kindness better than by assisting him in his
The Brahman looked at the samana in amazement : " That farmer*
you say, is an incarnation of one of my ancestors? That is im-
"1 know," replied the samana, "that you are not aware of the
numerous important relations which tie your fate to that of the farmer.
Bat a blind man cannot be expected to see; so I regret that you do
harm to yourself, and I shall try to protect you against the wounds
which you are about to inflict upon yourself."
The wealthy merchant
was not accustomed to be re-
primanded, and feeling that
the words of the samana,
although uttered with great
kindness, contained a stinging
reproach, bade his servant _ ~^jl v r 5 *S^W ^ I
drive on without further
The samana saluted Devala, the farmer, and began to help him re-
pair his cart and load up the rice, part of whieh had been thrown out,
The work proceeded quickly and Devala thought: "This samana must
be a holy man ; invisible devas* Beem to assist him. I will ask him
how I deserved ill treatment at the hands of the proud Brahman."
And he said : " Venerable sir, ean you tell me why I suffer an injustice
from a man to whom I have never done any harm?"
And the samana said : " My dear friend, you do not suffer an in-
justice, but only receive in your present state of existence the same
treatment which you visited upon the jeweller in a former life. You
reap what you have sown, and your fate
is the product of your deeds. Your very
existence, such as it is now, is
but the Karma of your past lives."
"What is my Karma?"
asked the farmer.
* Devas are spiritual beings,
gods, or angels.
" A man's Karma," replied the sanaana, " consists of all the deeds
both good and evil that he has done in his present and in any prior
existence. Your life is a system of many activities which have origi-
nated in the natural way of evolution, and have been transferred from
generation to generation. The entire being of every one of us is an
accumulation of inherited functions which are modified by new ex-
.periences and deeds. Thus we are what we have done- Oar * Karma '
constitutes our nature. We are our own creators."
" That may be as you say," rejoined Devala, " but what have I
to do with that overbearing Brahman ?"
The samana replied : " You are ia character quite similar to the
Brahman, and the Karma that has shaped your destiny diners but little
from his. If I am not mistaken in reading the thoughts of your mind,
I should say that you would, even to-day, have dtme the same unto the
jeweller if he had been in your place, and if you had such a strong
slave at your command as he has, able to deal with you at his
The farmer confessed, that if he had had the power, he would have
felt little compunction in treating another man, who had happened to
impede his way, as he had been treated by the Brahman, but thinking
of the retribution attendant upon unkind deeds, he resolved to be more
considerate in the future with his fellow-beings.
The rice was loaded and both together pursued their journey to
Baranasi, when all of a sudden the horse jumped aside. " A snake, a
snake!" shouted the farmer; but the samana looked closely at the
object at which the horse shuddered, jumped out of the cart and saw that
it was a purse full of gold, and the idea struck him : " No one else but
the wealthy jeweller can have lost this purse." He took the purse and
handing it to the farmer said ; " Take this purse and when you come to
Baranasi drive up to the inn which I shall point out to you *, ask for
Fandu, the Brahman, and deliver the purse. He will excuse himself for
the rudeness with which he treated you, but tell him that you have for-
given him and wish him success in all his undertakings. For, let me
tell you, the more successful he is, the better you will prosper ; your
fate depends in many respects upon his fate. Should the jeweller de-
mand any explanation, send him to the vihara* where he will find me
ready to assist him with advice in case he may feel the need of it,"
BUSINESS IN BENARES.
To corner the market of the necessities of life is not a modem
invention. The old testament contains the story of Joseph, the poor
Hebrew youth who became minister of state* and succeeded with on-
sorupufarm but clever business tricks in cornering the wheat market, so
ae to force the starved people to sell all their property, their privileges,
and even their lives, to Pharaoh. And we read in the Jataka Tales t
that one of the royal treasurers of Kasi, which is the old name of
Baranasi, made his first great success in life by cornering the grass
market of the metropolis on the day of the arrival of a horse dealer
with five hundred horses.
When Pandu the jeweller arrived at Baranasi it eo happened that
a bold speculator had brought about a corner in rice, and Mallika a
rich banker, and a business friend of Panda's, was in great distress.
On meeting the jeweller he said : "I am a ruined man and can do no
business with you unless I can buy a eart of the best rice for the
king's table. I have a rival banker in Baranasi, who learning that I
had made a contract with the royal treasurer to deliver the rice to-
morrow morning, and being desirous to bring about my destruction, has
bought up all the riee in Baranasi. The royal treasurer must have
received a bribe, for he will not release me from my contract and to-
morrow I shall be a ruined man unless Krishna will send an angel
from heaven to help me."
While Mallika was still lamenting the poverty to which his rival
would reduce him, Pandu missed his purse. Searching his carriage
* Buddhist monastery.
f Buddftist Birth Sioriea. TraDskted by T. W. Rhys Davids, P. 169.
without being able to find it, he suspected his slave Mahaduta; and
calling the police, aecused him of theft, and had him bound and cruelly
tortured to extort a confession. The slave in his agonies cried : " I am
innocent, let me go, for I Cannot stand this pain ; I am quite innocent
at least of this crime, and suffer now for other sins. 0, that I could
beg the farmer's pardon whom, for the sake of my master, I wronged
without any cause ! This torture, I believe, is a punishment for my
While the police officer was still applying the lash to the back
of the slave, the farmer arrived at the inn, and, to the great astonish-
ment of all concerned, delivered the purse. The slave was at once
released from the hands -of his torturer. But being dissatisfied with his
master, he secretly left and joined a band of robbers in the mountains,
who made him their chief on account of his great strength and courage.
When Mallika heard that the farmer had the best rice to sell, fit
for delivery to the royal table, he bought at once the whole cart-load
for treble the price that the farmer had ever received, and Pandu, glad
at heart to have his money restored, hastened at onee to the vikara to
receive further explanations from Narada, the samana.
Barada said: "I might give thee an explanation, but knowing
that thou art nnable to understand a spiritual truth, I prefer to remain
silent. However, I shall give thee some advice : Treat every man
whom thou meetest as thine own self; serve him as thou wouldst de^
mand to be served thyself; for thus thou shalt sow a sowing of good
deeds, the rich harvest of which thou shalt not fail to reap."
" Give me, samana, the explanation," said the jeweller, " and I
thereby be better able to follow your advice."
The samana said : " Listen then, I will give you the key to the
mystery. If you do not understand it, have faith in what I say. Self
is an illusion, and he whose mind is bent upoa following self, follows
an ignis fatuus -which leads him into the quagmire of sin. The illu-
sion of self is the veil of Maya that blinds your eyes and prevents you
from recognising the close relations that obtain between yourself and
your fellows, which are even closer than the relations that obtain
among the various organs of your body. You must learn to trace the.
identity of your self in the souls of other beings. Ignorance is the
source of sin. There are few who know the truth. Let this motto be
' He who hurts others Injures himself.
'He who helps others advances his own interests.
' Let the delusion of self disappear from your mind.
' And you will naturally walk in the path of truth/
'To him whose vision is dimmed by the veil of 3faya, the spirit-
ual world appears to be cut up into innumerable selves. Thus he will
be puzzled in many ways concerning the transmigration of soul-life,
and will be incapable of understanding the import of an all-comprehen-
sive kindness toward all living beings.'"
The jeweller replied : " Your words, venerable sir, have a deep
significance and I shall bear them in mind. I extended a small kindness
which caused me no expense whatever, to a poor samana on my way
to Baranaai, and lo ! how propitious has been the result I I am deeply in
your debt, for without you I should not only have lost my purse, but
would have been prevented from doing business in Saranasi which has
greatly increased my wealth, while if it had been left undone it might
have reduced me to a state of wretched poverty. In addition, your
taoughtfulness and the arrival of the farmer's riee-eart preserved the
prosperity of my friend Mallika, the banker. If all men saw the truth.
of your maxims, how much better the world would be, how greatly
evils would be lessened, and public welfare enhanced 1 As I am anxi-
ous to let the truth of Buddha be understood, I shall found a vihara at
my native place, Kaushambi and invite you to visit me, so that I may
dedicate the place to the brotherhood of Buddha's disciples."
AMONG THE ROBBERS.
Years passed on and Pandn's vihara at Kaushambi became a
place in which wise samanas used to stay and it was renowned as a
centre of enlightenment for the people of the town.
At that time the king of a neighboring country had heard of the
beauty of Panda's jewelry, and he sent his treasurer to order a royal
diadem to be wrought in pure gold and set with the most precious
stones of India. When Panda had finished tke work, he started for
the residence of the king, and as he expected to transact other profit-
able business, took with him a great store of gold pieces,
The caravan tarrying his
goods was protected by a strong
escort of armed men, but when they
reached the mountains they were attacked
by a hand of robbers led by Mahadata, who beat them and took awa
all the jewelry and the gold, and Pandu escaped with great difficulty
This misfortune was a blow to Panda's prosperity, and as he suffered
some other severe losses, his wealth was much reduced.
Pandu was much distressed, but he bore his misfortunes without
complaint, thinking to himself: "I have deserved these losses for the
toss co^amifcted in my past existence. In my younger years I was veiy
hard m other people; when I now reap the harvest of my evil dsede
1 have no eause for complaint,"
As he had grown in kindness toward ail beings, his misfortunes
only served to purify his heart ; and his chief regret, when thinking of
his redueed means, was that he had become unable to do good and to
help his friends in the vihara to spread the truths of religion.
As he had grown in kindness toward ail beings, his misfortunes
only served to purify his heart ; and his chief regret, when thinking of
his redueed means, was that he had become unable to do good and to
help his friends in the vihara to spread the truths of religion.
Again years passed on and it happened that Panthaka, a yonng
samana and a disciple of Narada, was travelling through the mountains
of Kaushambi, and he fell among the robbers in the mountains. As he
had nothing in his possession, the robber-chief beat him severely and
let him go. On the next morning Panthaka, while pursuing his way
through the woods, heard a noise as of quarreling and fighting men,
and going to the place he saw a number of robbers, all of them in a
great rage, and in their midst stood Mahaduta, their chief; and the chief
was desperately fighting them, like a lion surrounded by hounds, and
he slew several of his aggressors with formidable blows, but there were
too many against him; at last he succumbed, and fell to the ground as
if dead, covered with wounds. As soon as the robbers had left the
place the young samana approached to see whether he could be of any
assistance to the wounded men. He found that all the robbers were
dead, and there was only a little life left in the chief. He at onee went
down to the little brooklet which was murmuring near by, fetched nlh
water m his bowl and brought it to the dying man. Mahaduta open *
las eyes and gnashing his teeth, said; "Where are those ungratefu! Tol s
2£V« u **"* ^ 8UCCe8S? ™»* - « thetr chief
they will S oon pensh like jackals hunted down by skilful hunt's"
Do not think of your comrade h,« „ .
moment the chance of a . lTa «i.n thal £ ZZ'T 7* " ** "*
drink, and let me drees your wounds- JT / **" K TOler to
"Alas, alasr r«,L Z^XZlZlT *" "^
beat but yesterday and now yoa come t.^/Z^T' " b ° m J
P*n! Tea bring me fresh water to Inch 21 , ?" *'
«~ my life! It „ aselees, honorable T I » m ! ' """' °» *
charts have wonnded me ante ZT T M °"' d mw - T1 »
*« deal, me ,he blow" ££%£"»* «■*' «^
y .»^t £*J^£;rEr "■*— «■• — . ■»-
frem them act. of kindaesTLf b ' ^ """ W " Mi ™>
-.ahter, it „ but y ™ £ ^TV* ."- "» «— -
y own need that yoa an slain by their hands."
"True, very true," said the robber chief, "my fate is well
deserved ; but how sad is my lot, that I must reap the full harvest of
all my evil deeds in future existences! Advise me, holy sir, what I
can do to lighten the sins of my life which oppress me like a great
rock plaeed upon my breast, taking away the breath of my lungs*"
Said Panthaka : " Boot out your sinful desires ; destroy all evil pas-
sions, and fill your soul with kindness toward all your fellow beings."
■ » > '« ■
THE SPIDER WEB.
While the charitable samana washed the wounds, the robber chief
said : " I have done much evil and no good. How can I extricate my-
Belf from the net of sorrow which I have woven out of the evil desires
of my own heart ? My Karma will lead me to hell and I shall never
be able to walk in the path of salvation."
Said the samana : " Indeed your Karma will in its future incar-
nations reap the seeds of evil that you have sown. There is no escape
for an evil doer from the consequences of his own actions. But t there
is no cause for despair. The man who is converted and has rooted out
the illusion of Belf, with all its lusts and sinful desires, will be a source
of blessing to himself and others.
" As an illustration, I will tell you the story of the great robber
Kandata, who died without repentance and was reborn as a demon in
hell, where he suffered for his evil deeds the most terrible agonies and
pains. He had been in hell several kalpas* and was unable to rise out
of his wretched condition, when Buddha appeared upon earth and
attained to the blessed state of enlightenment. At that memorable mo-
ment a ray of light fell down into hell quickening all the demons with
life and hope, and the robber Kandata cried aloud : ' blesBed Buddha,
have mercy upon me ! I suffer greatly, and although I have done evil,
I am anxious to walk in the noble path of righteousness. But I cannot
* Kalps h a long period of time, an son.
extricate myself from the net of sorrow. Help me, Lords have mercy
on me!' KTow, it its the law of Karma that evil deeds lead to destruc-
tion, for absolute evil is so bad that it cannot exist. Absolute evil
involves impossibility of existence. But good deeds lead to life. Time
there is a final end to every deed that is done, but there is no end to
the development of good deeds. The least act of goodness bears fruit
containing new seeds of goodness, and they continue to grow, they
nourish the soul in its weary transmigrations until it reaches tho final
deliverance from all evil in Nirvana. When Buddha, the Lord, heard
the prayer of the demon suffering in hell, he said ; ' Kandata, did you
ever perform an act of kindness ? It will now return to you and help
you to rise again. But you cannot be rescued unless the intense
Sufferings which you endure as consequences of your evil deeds have
dispelled all conceit of selfhood and have purified your soul of vanity,
lust, and envy.'
" Eandata remained silent, for he had been a cruel man, but the
Tathagata in his omniscience saw all the deeds done by the poor
wretch, and he perceived that once in his life when walking through
the woods he had seen a spider crawling on the ground, and he
thought to himself, * I will not step upon the spider, for he is a harm-
less creature and hurts nobody.'
•* Buddha looked with compassion upon the tortures of Kandata,
and Bent down a spider on a cobweb and the spider said ; ' Take hold
of the web and climb up.* When the spider had disappeared, Kandata
made great efforts to climb up, and he succeeded. The web was so
strong that it held, and he ascended higher and higher. Suddenly he
felt the thread trembling and shaking, for behind him other fellow
sufferers of his were beginning to climb up. Kandata became frigfctenfc
He saw the thinness ot the web, and observed that it was elastic, for
under the increased weight it stretched out ; yet it still seemed strong
enough to carry him. Kandata had heretofore only looked up ; he now
looked down, and saw following close upon Ms Keels, also climbing
up on the cobweb, a numberless mob of the denizens of hell. 'How
can this thin thread bear the weight of all,' he thought to himself,
and seised with fear be shouted loudly: 'Let go the cob -web. It is
mine!' At once tbe cobweb broke, and.Kahdata fell h*ck into bell.
" The illusion of self was still upon Kandata. He did not know
fa© miraculous power of a sincere longing to rise upwards and enter
tbe noble path of righteousness. It is thin like a cobweb, but it will
carry millions of people, and the more there are that climb it, tbe
easier will be the efforts of every one of them. But as won as in a
man's heart the idea arises '. ' This is mine ; let the bliss of righteous-
ness be mine alone, and let no one else partake of it,' the thread
breaks, and you fall back into your old condition of self-hood, for self-
hood i3 damnation, and truth is bliss. What is hell ? It ia nothing
but egotism, and Hirvana is a life of rigkteonSaess."
" let me take hold of a spiderWeb," said the dying robber chief,
when the saraaaa had finished his story, "and I will pull myself up
out of the depth of hell."
THE -BEOUESf OF A GOOD KARMA.
He lay qutet for a wail© to collect his thoughts, and then
addressed the saraana not without effort :
"Listen, henorable sir, I will make a confession: I was the
servant of Panda, the jeweller of Kaushambi, but when ha unjustly
bad me tortured I ran away, and became a chief of robbers. Seme
time ago when I heard through my spies that Fandu was passing
through the mountains, I succeeded in robbing him of a great par* ef
his wealth. Will you now go to him and tell him, that I have forglvsa
from the bottom of my heart, the injury which he unjustly inflicted
Upon me, and ask Mm, too, to pardon me for having robbed him.
While I stayed with him his heart was as hard as a etcne, and J
learned to imitate the selfishness of his character. I have heard that
he has become- benevolent ana is now pointed out aa an example of
goodness and justice, He has laid up treasures of whiefc no robbar caa
ever deprive him,* while my life will linger in the course of evil
deeds, but I do not wish to remain in his debt so long as it is still in
my power to pay it. My heart has undergone a complete change. My
evil passions are subdued, and the few moments
of life still left to me shall be spent in the
endeavor to continue after death in the good
Karma of righteous aspirations. Therefore, in-
form Pandu that I have kept the gold ciown
which he wrought for the king, and all his
treasures, and have hidden them in a
cave near by. There were only two
of the robbers under my
command who knew of it,
and both, are now dead.
* This expression reminding ooe of
Mattlr- vi, 20, is taken from the Nld-
Mkanda Sutta (Treasure Chapter).
Let Panda tike . number of armed me „, and eome to the place and
take baek the proper,, „ f „ bieh , have deptiTed ^ ^/f
justice will atone for some of mv sins if T^n *^i a 1
„x - . .r, , y Bias ' u Wl11 hel P to cleanse my soul
ii £S5# give rae a start * pw — - *
tne a I"^r. described the IS of th r *~ - i «■
As soon as Panthaka, the young ^^^ ^d reached Kaushambi
he went to the jeweller and gave him a f n U account of his reeent
adventure in the forest. And Fandu Went with an escort of armed
men and eeeured the treasures which the robber-chief had concealed in
tno cave; and they buried the robber-chief and his slain comrades
with all honors, and Panthaka spoke at the grave, discoursing on the
words of Buddha : ^^
"By one's self evil is done ; by one's self one suffers.
"By one's self evil is left undone ; by one's self one is purified.
"Purity and impurity belong: to one's self; no one can purify
"You yourself must make an effort. The Buddhas are only
preachers." * J
"Our Karma," the samana said, "is not the work of Ishvara, or
Brahma, or Indra, or of any one of the gods. Our Karma is the pro-
duct of our own actions. My action is the womb that bears me j it Is
the inheritance which devolves upon me ; it is the curse of my mis-
deeds and the blessing of my righteousness. My action ia the resource
by which alone I can work out my salvation." t
Pandu carried all his treasures back to Kaushambl, and using
with discretion the wealth thus unexpectedly regained, he became
richer and more powerful than he had ever been before, and when he
was dying at an advanced age he had all his sons, and daughters, and
grandchildren gathered round him and said unto them:
* Quoted from Dhammapada.
f Quoted irom the Angtittara NiMya, Panc-Ora &&* See OMenberg, Zuddha, p. 2&L
"My dear children, do not blame others for your laok of success.
Seek the cause of your ills in yourselves. Unless you are blinded by
vanity you will find it, and having found it you will see the way oat
of it. The remedy of your ills, too, lies in yourselves. Let never your
mental eyes be covered by the veil of Maya, and remember the words
which have proved a talisman In my life >.
' He who hurts others, injures himself.
'He who helps others, advances his own interests.
- Let the illusion of self disappear,
* And you will naturally walk in the path of truth.'
"If you heed my words and obey these injunctions you will,
when you come to die, oontinue to live in the Good Karma that
you have stored up, and your souls will be immortalised
according to yonr deeds."
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